National Park Service

Southern Plains Network (SOPN)

Monitoring

Tagging monarch butterfly at Sand Creek Massacre NHS
Tagging monarch butterfly at Sand Creek Massacre NHS

The intent of park vital signs monitoring is to track a subset of physical, chemical, and biological elements and processes of park ecosystems that are selected to represent the overall health or condition of park resources, known or hypothesized effects of stressors, or elements that have important human values.

The elements and processes that are monitored are a subset of the total suite of natural resources that park managers are directed to preserve "unimpaired for future generations," including water, air, geological resources, plants and animals, and the various ecological, biological, and physical processes that act on those resources. In situations where natural areas have been so highly altered that physical and biological processes no longer operate (e.g., control of fires and floods in developed areas), information obtained through monitoring can help managers understand how to develop the most effective approach to restoration or, in cases where restoration is impossible, ecologically sound management.

The SOPN Monitoring Plan provides a detailed description of the strategy for monitoring these vital signs. The table below shows the detailed monitoring protocols used to sample these vital signs to date. Click here for a complete list of natural resource monitoring reports produced by SOPN.

Published Protocols Vital Signs
Air Quality
  1. Air Quality
Landscape Dynamics Human Demographics
  1. Landscape Dynamics Human Demographics
Protocols in Preparation Vital Signs
Climate
  1. Climate
Exotic Plants
  1. Exotic Plants
Grassland Vegetation Communities Fire and Fuel Dynamics
  1. Grassland Vegetation Communities Fire and Fuel Dynamics
Groundwater Level
  1. Groundwater Levels
Landbirds
  1. Landbirds
Landscape Dynamics & Human Demographics
  1. Landscape Dynamics & Human Demographics
Riparian Vegetation Communities
  1. Riparian Vegetation Communities
Soil Structure and Chemistry
  1. Soil Structure and Chemistry
Surface Water Quantity
  1. Surface Water Quantity
Water Quality
  1. Water Quality

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Last Updated: December 30, 2016 Contact Webmaster